Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation today which would provide amnesty for 12 to 20 million illegal aliens living in America
Sometime, I hate being right. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been saying that cap-and-trade and health care reform would be at the forefront of the Democratic Party majority’s agenda throughout 2009 and that, regardless of the fate of those two measures, it would be comprehensive immigration reform which would dominate the debate and discourse on Capitol Hill come spring, as mid-term elections heat up and as Democrats desperately scramble to paint Republicans as anti-immigrant.
Well, it began today. Illinois Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez introduced legislation today that would provide amnesty for the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently living in America today. Rumor has it that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer is busy working on a Senate version.
In the process of doing so, Gutierrez called out President Obama on campaign promises made with regard to the status of illegal immigrants in America, saying that the president “made a promise” to “‘bring them out of the shadows and into the light of day, to be able to earn their legalization in this country, and we should stop exploiting them’” and that the Democrats should keep it.
First of all, I fail to comprehend how providing amnesty through legislative overreach forces illegal workers to “earn” anything. Secondly, I find it ironic that the very same people circling the wagons around the sentiment that we should “stop exploiting” illegal immigrants will be the party doing just that in advance of next year’s elections.
Democrats seem to forget the difference between legal and illegal immigration. It boils down to a matter of law. There’s a certain legal process that people must undertake in order to come here and enjoy a shot at the American Dream (or, whatever is left of the concept, thanks to the Democrats’ War on American Exceptionalism) — if you take that path and abide by the law, you’re a legal immigrant; if you don’t, you are in violation of American immigration laws, and are therefore an illegal immigrant. Plain and simple, these people are breaking our laws by simply setting foot on American soil and the Democrats, for the sake of political expediency, want to essentially commute their sentences before they’ve been caught.
In a statement made today, Georgia Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey made note of how this issue runs afoul of the very notion of recovery from our current economic crisis. And he was right to do so.
“The introduction today of legislation by the Democratic Majority that would ultimately grant amnesty to illegal aliens is an absolute travesty,” Gingrey said. “Our economy is struggling, unemployment is at 10 percent, 15.4 million people are looking for work, and there are 6 applicants for every available job. A blanket amnesty for illegal aliens would exacerbate this situation and I am strongly opposed to it. Rewarding illegal aliens with the privilege of holding a job in the United States will not help American families struggling to make ends meet – and that, particularly in a time of economic recession, should be our focus.”
And, ultimately, it goes deeper than jobs. According to a 2006 report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigrants consume $3.7 billion annually in Medicare and Medicaid benefits, as 40 percent of the illegal immigration population receive welfare benefits. This is the same Medicare, of course, from which Democrats are looking to cut nearly $500 billion; providing amnesty to anywhere between 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants would only further burden a health care system currently being driven into the ground by entitlement-loving liberals.
Furthermore, according to another 2006 report, this one from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, $1.1 billion is spent yearly to feed, clothe and accommodate the illegal immigrants which occupy nearly a third of our federal and state prisons. With states like California teetering on the edge while negotiating budget deficits in the tens of billions of dollars, the added expense brought forth not only by amnesty efforts but by the influx of new illegal immigrants that Gutierrez’s bill will bring will provide a further burden to overcome.
If we’re going to propose immigration-related legislation, the goals being served should be to relieve our schools and hospitals and prisons of the added fiscal burdens brought by illegal immigrants, address unemployment among Americans, and address national security concerns arising from an open back door as well.
First, even at a cost of more than $3.5 million per mile, an effective fence built across the southern border of the United States would cost approximately $7 billion, nothing when compared with the overall cost of educating, medically treating and incarcerating illegal aliens.
Second, we must eliminate the magnets. That goes for sanctuary city policies in American cities like New York and San Francisco, and programs which provide educational scholarships to children of illegal immigrants like the one championed by Mike Huckabee while he was Arkansas’ chief executive.
Third, enforce the immigration laws which are currently on the books. Running hand-in-hand with the elimination of sanctuary cities, citizenship status should be question number one at traffic stops, and illegal immigrants who violate our laws in any way, shape or form should be immediately deported to some point beyond our new, $7 billion border fence. I’m tired of hearing about teenagers killed by drunk drivers who have no right being in America nonetheless on American highways.
Finally, an infrastructure should be in place which would assist legal immigrants in assimilating. If I were to be living somewhere outside the United States, I would want to preserve my American heritage, but that preservation would run hand-in-hand with efforts to speak the language and learn the customs of my new home. I read somewhere that the United States is a melting pot, not a salad bowl — the ability to legally come to America provides America with a depth of character that is good for all of us; we should celebrate healthy cultural diversity, but we should celebrate it as Americans.
I’m not wrong very often. It saddens me that I was right about this, and I wonder if I’ll be right when it comes to the leadership and involvement from republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But I’ve also argued that the so-called “Hispanic vote” is a false notion — grouping all Hispanics, or blacks, or Asians, or gays in America together is something that Democrats do; it betrays individual freedom, it undermines independent thought, and it insults the people who came here from other nations for the very American Dream being destroyed by the Democratic Party majority on Capitol Hill. I bet I’ll be right about that as well, and the Democrats will learn by November of next year that they had very little to gain by rehashing the debate over comprehensive immigration reform, and obviously had a whole lot more to lose.